Today marked a new beginning for Paul Laurence Dunbar High School as it reopened its doors after a two-year renovation. I can't claim to have been to every school in the city, but it is at least as nice as any I have been through. The hallways are bright, curved in places and wide. The burgundy and yellow colors of the school are carried throughout in the tiles and walls. The school has a feel that what happens here matters.
It is thoroughly air-conditioned and it doesn't seem to be freezing in some places and warm in others. Students can drink the water because of a new filtration system.
The old gym is still there and it retains the feel of a gym that has been well used and loved.
We can all point to lots of shabby schools that have produced high student achievement, but it was interesting to speak with a school advocate at the ribbon cutting today who noted that where the system has renovated schools, achievement has since risen. She pointed to Digital Harbor and Abbottston Elementary. Dunbar has already made its comeback from a low in the 1990s, but it will be interesting to see if students are inspired by their environment. Will the clean new classrooms with smart boards, new computers and new science labs make a difference in what students aspire to and what they achieve?